E-News Bulletin--July 2014--In This Issue

•    President's Activities
•    UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from June 27 meeting
•    Provincial Issues
•    Federal Issues
•    FCM Issues

President's Activities

For a list of the President's activities over the past month, click here.

UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from June 27 Meeting

  • Provincial Recreation Strategy - The UNSM Board received a presentation by members of the Department of Health and Wellness and Recreation Nova Scotia on a Provincial Recreation Strategy. The Board is considering endorsing the strategy and encourages municipalities to consider likewise.
  • Regional Meetings - UNSM regional meetings will be organized for the Fall of 2014.
  • Project Funding - Staff will develop criteria on using UNSM project funding. The draft criteria will be presented for discussion at the August board meeting.
  • MPJAG - The Province has approached the UNSM to reform the Municipal-Provincial Joint Advisory Group on Water and Wastewater (MPJAG). UNSM staff will prepare recommendations for the Board to consider at its August meeting before making a decision to reform the committee.
  • Bylaw Amendments - The draft UNSM bylaw and policy amendments were approved by the Board. The draft documents will be emailed to the membership in July for review and comment. The final drafts will be put to the membership for a vote at the November AGM.
  • Solid Waste Regulations - The Board raised concerns with the new solid waste regulations being proposed by the Province. The UNSM will write the Minister of Environment to express concerns with unknown costs that could be downloaded onto municipalities.
  • Resolution Committee Appointments - The following members were appointed to the UNSM Resolutions Committee: Councillor Greg MacArthur, Town of Truro (Town Caucus), Councillor Alex Morrison, County of Annapolis (Rural Caucus), Councillor Emma Vanrooyen, County of Kings (Rural Caucus), Councillor Russell Walker (HRM), Councillor Ivan Doncaster (CBRM)
  • Health and Wellness Committee Appointment - The following member was appointed to the UNSM Health and Wellness Committee: Councillor Greg MacArthur, Town of Truro
  • Gas Tax Oversight Committee Appointments - The Board approved the appointment of Betty MacDonald, UNSM Executive Director and Hugh Landry, CAO, Town of Mulgrave, to the Oversight Committee.  
  • Property Tax Study - The Board discussed next steps. Staff will  meet with the consultant to review options.
  • Resolutions Follow-Up - The Board reviewed the responses from the Province and staff will follow up with those departments indicating a willingness to work with municipalities. The Board will raise resolutions with the Province at the next Ministers' Roundtable.
  • One NS Workshop Report - The report from the OneNS Workshop held for municipal elected officials on May 23 is complete. UNSM staff will continue to identify ways to help municipalities respond to the challenges facing communities. For a copy of the report, click here.
  • Citizen Engagement Workshop - The UNSM will be hosting a one-day workshop for the membership on citizen engagement. It is scheduled for Friday, September 19 at the Truro Holiday Inn.
  • Municipal Government Included in Civics Curriculum - The UNSM is looking at ways to have municipal government taught more frequently in the public school system as part of the civics curriculum. To this end, the UNSM will present at the Social Studies Teachers Association AGM in October. The goal will be to encourage more social studies teachers to incorporate municipal government into their curriculum including involving municipal officials to conduct presentations and holding mock council meetings.
  • MOU - The UNSM board and staff will work with Municipal Affairs on the creation of a new MOU/Collaboration Agreement.

Federal Issues

Gas Tax Announcement - On July 3, Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Premier Stephen McNeil announced an agreement for the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund that provides predictable, stable funding for public infrastructure across Nova Scotia. The renewed agreements will govern the flow of federal funds to each province and territory over the next 10 years, from 2014-15 until 2023-24. For a copy of the media release, click here. The agreement is on the Infrastructure Canada website:   http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/prog/agreements-ententes/gtf-fte/2014-ns-eng.html.   Municipalities can expect to receive their individual municipal funding agreements from the province in the near future. 

Provincial Issues

  • The Nova Scotia Department of Energy has commissioned the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment at Cape Breton University to conduct an independent review and public engagement process to explore the social, economic, environmental, and health implications of hydraulic fracturing practices and their associated wastewater streams. Dr. David Wheeler, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University, is convening as Chair of the Nova Scotia Expert Panel on Hydraulic Fracturing, which will oversee the review process.

    As part of the public engagement process for the fracking review, Dr. Wheeler would like to invite interested citizens to attend one of thefollowing upcoming public meetings, where he will provide an overview of the review process, preliminary review results and draft recommendations.

    Location

    Address

    Date and Time

    Port Hawkesbury

    Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, 606 Reeves Street

    July 15 (6:30 to 8:30 pm)

    Sydney

    Cape Breton University, Verschuren Centre Room CS 104, 1250 Grand Lake Road

    July 16 (5 to 7 pm)

    Whycocomagh

    Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre, 9650 Hwy 105

    July 29 (6 to 8 pm)

    New Glasgow

    Pictou County Wellness Centre, 2756 Westville Road

    July 21 (12 to 2 pm)

    Tatamagouche

    Tatamagouche Centre, 259 Loop Route 6, RR#3

    July 21st (6:30 to 8:30 pm)

    Amherst

    The Dominion Public Building, 98 Victoria Street

    July 22 (12 to 2 pm)

    Truro

    Rath Eastlink Community Centre, 625 Abenaki Road

    July 22 (6 to 8 pm)

    Halifax

    Kings College, Alumni Hall, 6350 Coburg Road

    July 23 (6 to 8 pm)

    Yarmouth

    Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Branch, 341 Main Street

    July 24 (11am to 1 pm)

    Windsor

    Windsor Community Centre, 78 Thomas Street

    July 24 (6:30 to 8:30 pm)

    For more information, visit the Hydraulic Fracturing Study website at:  http://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy/events or contact Margo MacGregor, Program Administrator, at 902-563-1392 or .

     

  • Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) has extended the deadline for municipalities to provide input on proposed changes to the Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations from July 11 to September 30. 

    In April, NSE released a consultation paper entitled "Revising Our Path Forward:  A public discussion paper about solid waste regulation in Nova Scotia."   The paper states the current system is not sustainable and proposes changes in the following areas:

    • A new product stewardship model (Extended Producer Responsibility) for materials such as printed paper and packaging that offers some financial relief for municipalities by shifting the responsibility of disposal to the producer (using a similar model currently in place for electronics and consumer paint products)
    • New disposal bans and approval requirements aimed at increasing diversion of construction and demolition material and generating business activity
    • Expansion of the used tire management program to add off-road tires, including those on ATVs, mining equipment and farm tractors
    • Removal of the requirement for regional solid waste management plans
    • Clarity on the rules for energy-from-waste to allow for the inclusion of technologies that thermally process mixed municipal solid waste
    • Improved enforceability of the solid waste regulations
    • Changes to the beverage container deposit-refund program to reflect the true cost of recycling beverage containers

    If you would like to provide comments to the proposed changes outlined in the consultation paper, please do so by September 30 by sending an email to NSE at (please include “solid waste regulations” in the subject line of the email). 

FCM Issues

Statement by FCM’s President on updates to rail safety regulations: For further information, click here.

Municipalities call for long-term housing plan as cross-Canada roundtables come to an end: For further information, click here.